It’s hard to pin too much blame on offensive coordinator Greg Roman when your quarterback consistently leaves plays on the field. Jonas Shaffer from The Sun breaks down several of Lamar Jackson’s failures on Sunday including this one:
Second-and-10, Ravens’ 40 (fourth quarter): The Ravens ran four vertical routes, leaving Jackson without a quick-hitter option. But rookie wide receiver Rashod Bateman easily got a step on cornerback Cam Sutton, and Andrews was running with inside linebacker Devin Bush, who had his head turned away from the play. Rather than take a chance down the sideline to Bateman or over the middle to Andrews, Jackson moved up in the pocket, slipped one sack attempt, then had Watt come over and punch the ball loose. Fortunately for the Ravens, it skipped all the way over to the sideline.
Shockingly this is one of the less egregious examples. Check out more of Lamar’s struggles (if you dare) from Jonas here.
NFL Analyst Brian Baldinger breaks down where he sees areas of improvement for the Baltimore Ravens’ passing game and how they could have beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 13 of the 2021 season.
The Ravens offense, particularly their passing attack, has been the subject of criticism. Greg Roman has earned it and I sometimes wonder what he, Tee Martin and Keith Williams do when scheming up what you’d hope would be complementary route combos. Way too often they fail to test a defense’s elasticity. Way too often they are easy to defend.
Even if the argument is that they are “reading more routes” in the Ravens offense there has to be *some* rules with it.
This type of spacing happens way, way too often and with players that have been in this offense for several years. https://t.co/Mx66Dtz1Dn
— Nate Tice (@Nate_Tice) December 8, 2021
Matt Verderame from Ebony Bird ranks the NFL’s 32 starting quarterbacks through week 13 and coming in at No. 10 (a generous ranking if you ask me) is Lamar Jackson. Verderame states that Lamar, “needs to be better. He threw a brutal pick to Minkah Fitzpatrick in the first quarter, costing Baltimore sure points. Over the last six weeks, he’s thrown eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions.”
Offensive, Offensive Line
Jeff Zrebiec from The Athletic believes that changes across the Ravens offensive front may be forthcoming given their struggles against the Steelers (Steelers outside linebackers T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith combined for an eye-popping 20 pressures, according to NFL Next Gen stats). Versatile lineman Patrick Mekari could miss a few games according to John Harbaugh who isn’t exactly forthcoming with news from the injury front. Zrebiec writes:
“The Ravens offensive line will have a different look Sunday against Myles Garrett and the Cleveland Browns because of injury circumstances. You have to wonder, though, whether Harbaugh and offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris will consider other changes to help a struggling unit.
Could rookie Ben Cleveland enter the mix at left guard either as a replacement for Ben Powers or at least as part of a rotation? Would the Ravens consider promoting one of their practice-squad tackles, David Sharpe or Jaryd Jones-Smith, to play on the right side instead of Tyre Phillips, who struggled mightily Sunday in place of an injured Mekari? Could guard/center Trystan Colon be part of the solution somehow?
The Ravens clearly don’t have a lot of options here, but it feels like a performance like Sunday’s could warrant change or at least strong consideration of it.”
— T. Fields (@EDCburner) December 7, 2021
A Game of Inches
John Harbaugh referenced Any Given Sunday a few times following the Ravens loss to the Steelers this past weekend. The movie wasn’t all that great but the locker room speech from Al Pacino was. In the unlikely event that you are unfamiliar, here it is. If you are familiar, you probably won’t mind watching it again. It’s that great! (Warning: Explicit Language)
How badly has your team been hurt? Few teams are as banged up as the Ravens, but Baltimore has remarkably been able to overcome the widespread injuries. The Ravens lead the AFC North, which makes you wonder how good this team would be fully healthy. Baltimore isn’t as explosive on offense without its top two running backs (J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards). The Ravens aren’t protecting Lamar Jackson as effectively without Pro Bowl left tackle Ronnie Stanley. And the defense isn’t producing many turnovers without All-Pro cornerback Marcus Peters. But the team has been able to survive by winning some close games. — Jamison Hensley
Ravens currently have $44M+ in Cap space attributed to players on IR. That is just under 1/4 of their Cap counting on IR.
— Brian McFarland (@RavensSalaryCap) December 7, 2021
Brown TE David Njoku looks like he’ll miss the game against the Ravens. That said, if T.J. Watt’s performance against the Ravens is any indication, a game most thought he’d miss due to COVID-related issues, Njoku will likely post 8 catches for 120 yards and 2 scores this Sunday.
— KimberlEY A. Martin (@ByKimberleyA) December 7, 2021
There’s not a day that goes by when I don’t think of John Lennon. John was a complicated man, scarred by a childhood that may have ruined most of us. As a toddler he was forced to choose between his Mom and Dad, by his parents, who opted to go their separate ways. After years of a fractured relationship, John and his Mom finally got it together and just when they did, a drunk, off-duty police officer ran her over in front of his Aunt’s home. She died at the scene.
One of the contributing factors to the bond John shared with Paul McCartney, besides of course their ambition and talent, was the fact that both lost their Moms as teenagers. John’s pain often manifested itself in song. Today those songs live on, just as relevant as they were when recorded.
John was taken from us 41 years ago today. Twenty years ago I visited the site of his passing and Strawberry Fields in Central Park. Fans gathered in a communal way singing one song after the next, among his gifts to us all. I still often wonder what might have been but instead, I prefer to rejoice in what was.
Here’s my story as a 19-year-old college student on the day of John’s tragic passing. Thank you John, for the incredible legacy.
And in Other Tweets…
From @NextGenStats: The Steelers blitzed Lamar Jackson on 46% of his dropbacks in the first half Sunday, the defense's first game over 35% this season. Pittsburgh pressured Jackson on 7 of 10 blitzes, picking up 4 sacks in the half.
The Ravnes' blitz trend continues.
— Jonas Shaffer (@jonas_shaffer) December 8, 2021
The Ravens are 2.5-point underdogs for Sunday's game at the Browns.
It's the first time that Lamar Jackson is not favored to beat Cleveland. Jackson is 5-1 against the Browns.
For the season, this is the first time since Week 4 (Oct. 3 at Denver) that the Ravens are underdogs.
— Jamison Hensley (@jamisonhensley) December 8, 2021
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) December 7, 2021
Steelers lineman Chris Wormley credited with 2.5 sacks vs his former team. Asked last time he had that many sacks: "Against Rutgers 2016 & the Ravens O-line is a little better than what Rutgers was back then." Cue: reaction about Ravens O-line @WJZ pic.twitter.com/SxyBHcYmM9
— Mark Viviano (@MarkWJZ) December 6, 2021
Mark Andrews ranks No. 2 in both receiving yards (811) and catches (64) among all NFL tight ends.
He needs just 45 yards to set a new Ravens franchise single-season record set by Todd Heap (855) in 2005.
— Sarah Ellison (@sgellison) December 8, 2021